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October 16, 2017

Country's No. 20 scaffolding business finds new home for its growing business in Portland

Courtesy / Zack Thomas
Courtesy / Zack Thomas
Zack Thomas, owner of Seacoast Scaffold & Equipment, projects continued growth for his firm, which now has the space it needs at 600 Riverside St. in Portland.

PORTLAND — Seacoast Scaffold & Equipment — one of the nation's top scaffolding firms — found larger offices, warehouses and land to accommodate its growing business when it purchased 600 Riverside St. in Portland from 600 Riverside Street LLC for $925,000.

The deal was the second part of a 1031 exchange. The first part occurred when Seacoast sold its previous headquarters, at 163 Thadeus St. in South Portland, to Mark Duval and Anne Duval for $705,000.

163 Thadeus St. consisted of a 1,556-square-foot office and a 4,083-square-foot warehouse on 0.69 acre. That deal closed Sept. 12.

600 Riverside St., by contrast, consists of 4,500 square feet of office/flex space, with less warehouse space — 3,500 square feet — but far more land at 3.21 acres. The deal closed Sept. 15.

Michael Anderson of Malone Commercial Brokers represented Seacoast owner Zack Thomas in both deals.

"It's significantly more land with adequate office and covered storage space for their needs," said Anderson. "This will give them the room they need to continue their growth trajectory."

The transactions were a matter of great timing. Anderson said he had been talking with the owner of 600 Riverside St., and was able to match Thomas with the property before it even hit the market.

"This type of product right now is limited. The industrial market is hot," Anderson said.

Of Anderson, Thomas said, "Mike was phenomenal throughout both transactions. His availability was second to none. I've been through many commercial and residential transactions, and I've never had an agent or broker who was so responsive every time I wanted to know what was going on. That was super-important to the transaction going smoothly and keeping me calm."

A growing scaffolding business

Courtesy / Malone Commercial Brokers
Courtesy / Malone Commercial Brokers
Ranked No. 20 among scaffolding firms in the nation, Seacoast Scaffold & Equipment outgrew its space at 163 Thadeus St. in South Portland and purchased this property at 600 Riverside St. in Portland for $925,000.

Thomas said that while the idea of getting a larger property had been in back of his mind for quite some time, he was actively looking for about two months.

"We outgrew our old property," he said. "We require a lot of outside storage. So with the trucks and the equipment, it's been very tight for quite some time." Employee numbers are growing, too. "We ran out of space."

With $6 million in revenue last year, Seacoast is ranked by the trade magazine American Lifts and Handlers as No. 20 among scaffolding companies in the country. The company has 45 employees at sites in Portland, Bangor, Concord, N.H., and Shrewsbury, Mass.

"There's a lot of work but no skilled labor to do the work," Thomas said. "We would take in 20% more jobs right now, but we don't have the workforce to do it."

Its projects have included construction of staging 70 feet high around Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth and construction of a ski ramp in Rockefeller Center for the "The Today Show," for demonstrations by the U.S. Ski Team.

Thomas's father started the company, out of his basement and with no employees, in 1988. His first projects involved renting equipment from other scaffolding companies and putting it up on job sites.

"He didn't have a storage yard to put the scaffolding in," said Thomas. "If he didn't have enough room to store scaffolding for a job, then he'd have it shipped directly to the job site."

Improved visibility with new site

Thomas was around the business from a young age. The company made a couple of moves, with the move to 163 Thadeus St. taking place in the 1990s. He began taking on managerial roles in 2008, and was named CEO in 2016.

Thomas is investing another $250,000 into some interior renovation at 600 Riverside St., and expects to make the move in the next couple of months.

"It's just a facelift," Thomas said.

Advantages of the new location include "supreme visibility. Riverside Street is impressive," said Thomas. "Our visibility will [increase] ten-fold."

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